Today is the three-year anniversary of the day RLPCo first opened shop!
1. This isn’t easy. People often ask me how I got started with my own business, what prompted me to do it. The truth is, I thought it’d be easy. A few design skills here, some paper and envelopes there, and voila! Business! But it turns out that is only a small portion of it. I didn’t start with some grand scheme to change the world, just to help people find something they couldn’t find before. Over the last three years, I’ve really grown along with my business, honing in on my passion for sharing my faith my way, and doing it in a way that serves others, too.
2. Confidence. Man, was this lacking when I started. I think there are the kinds of entrepreneurs who can jump in with both feet and think they’ve got it all down pat. The ones who know their vision, won’t stray from it, believe in their product so much they can sell it to a wall. Then there’s the rest of us. The ones who have to be told over and over again that what we’re doing is good, that we’re making a difference. The ones who will second-guess their business’ purpose a thousand times, think about quitting. I’m a lot better three years later. Oh I still have my moments. But I’ve grown as a person, as a designer, and as a business owner. I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going. … Usually.
3. Online friends are real-life friends. I wasn’t on Twitter before RLPCo launched, and I had a personal blog read by all of a handful of people I already knew. Building relationships has been a HUGE part of this for me. And the timing couldn’t have been better, during a period in my life where community outside my apartment was lacking. You gave me purpose. You supported me, encouraged me, made me laugh, prayed for me. I’m so, so thankful for you, many of whom I’ve never even met in real life. You guys make me better.
I really can’t say thank you enough to anyone in the last three years who’s bought a card, spread the word, said a prayer, or a million other things that mean so much.
But in an attempt, we’re having one heck of a sale.
Today only, till 2 a.m. ET, to celebrate three years, buy three cards, get three free.
There’s no code to enter, nothing to remember. Just add three cards to your cart and then write the other three you want in the notes at checkout. That’s it.
Thanks again. Truly. Here’s to many more years!
* Free cards must be of equal or lesser value. Up to 9 free cards. Purchase must be at full price — sets not included.
I’ve been keeping a secret for a few weeks now. We wanted to make sure everything was set and that all the right people knew first before making this announcement, so here it is, finally …
Are we there yet?
(Hey, just be glad I didn’t say “we’ve been trying for three years,” ‘cuz that’d be true, too.)
As you know, we made the huge leap from NYC to Santa Fe last summer. But while the opportunity presented itself here and we jumped, we’d been thinking about Seattle for a while. A long while. And we miss being in a city. So we’ve decided to go for it and head west again to The Emerald City. We move at the end of August.
Here’s the deal. I’ve got a lot of cards in stock I’d love to not move, so for the next few weeks, I’ll be offering multiple discounts and giveaways. I’m starting today with a one-day-only Christmas in July August giveaway, and the winner will get one of each of our Christmas cards — that’s a set of 20+ — and will include some out-of-print designs! To enter, just 1) follow me @RLPCo on Instagram and 2) share the picture below on Instagram and tag #RLPCoChristmas. Winner will be announced Friday.
So. Want? Just sign up for our newsletter (that I promise not to send so frequently as to bombard your inbox) and you’ll get the printable PLUS a coupon code for your next RLPCo purchase, and a little bit of behind-the-scenes knowledge on what really drives RLPCo. Not to mention you’ll get to stay up-to-date on new products and special discounts and other fun stuff.
I’ve added a new card to the shop today. Its likely use will be for celebrations, and that is fine with me, since celebrations are worth, well, celebrating with a handwritten note. But I want to tell you how this card actually came to be.
I made it for someone for Mother’s Day. My dear friend Amanda, who blogs about life, faith, and her struggle with infertility at A Royal Daughter, has been trying to have a baby for four years. I can only imagine what it must be like to want to be a mother so badly and to have to endure Mother’s Day, where the women all around you are acknowledged. Mothers are definitely worth praising (and definitely more than once a year), but that day must be so hard for women who have not been able to have a child, or who have lost one.
And so I made this card and sent it to Amanda for Mother’s Day, to wish her a “happy day,” even though it was going to be hard.
Because it is her heart’s desire to be a mother, and so she should get to celebrate, too.
So that’s how this card came to be. As an encouragement to a friend to know she’s loved on a tough day. And every day.
It’s been nearly two weeks since our dog Thunder passed away. I’d like to say all the tears are gone, but sometimes it still hits you that he won’t run to the bedside when you wake up or eat the piece of chicken that fell on the floor.
If you’ve ever had a pet, you know how attached you can get. Our animals become part of our families.
Thankfully, our human family has been there to support us over these last two weeks. And by human family, I mean friends, too. We’re so thankful for the thoughts and messages sent our way as we grieve.
I think it’s important that we recognize the loss of our furry family members and love on each other during such a sad time.
Since life inspires art, I’ve made two new designs that I hope you can use to support a fellow animal-lover.
This first card is a tribute to our black German shepherd — it starts with a black paw print on the back of the card, and it slowly disappears on the front. Although his life faded away, our memories of him never will.
As I was designing and tinkering, I was thinking about what verse would be good for the back of a pet sympathy card. Proverbs 17:17 popped into my head, and it’s just perfect. So it became its own card, too. I love this one because it could be used as a sympathy card, or a thanks-for-adopting card, or a congrats-on-your-new-puppy card.
Hug your furkids tight, and remember to love on others whose pets have passed on.
Yesterday was our ninth anniversary. Here’s a “by the numbers” look at our last nine years together. (Try not to read it to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas.”) (Now that I’ve brought it up, it’ll be impossible.)
9 years of marriage
8 different apartments
7 times I asked my husband to help me figure out a number 7
Shortly after my husband and I married in June 2004, we started talking about adopting a dog. We fell hard for a fuzzy black face, and as soon as we could, we moved to a new apartment where we could have a dog. And Thunder came home with us.
This past Friday, he went home to heaven.
When we first started thinking about adopting Thunder, we thought we’d change his name. Neither of us would name a dog Thunder. But we watched his updates through the German shepherd rescue for months, and by the time he came home with us, we’d known him so long and so well as Thunder, that there was just no other name for him. He was Thunder, and he was ours.
To be quite honest, he was a handful. The victim of an abusive and neglectful past, he never quite got over some of his demons. He was wary of other people and dogs and frightened at the drop of a hat. And at age 3 (we guess) when we adopted him, he already had hip dysplasia.
But for the most part, he was perfect. Big, beautiful, and so well-behaved. Not once, ever, did he chew something that wasn’t his. Not once, until he began to decline, did he make a mess on the floor. He rarely barked.
Over the last eight years, he grew older, and his body weaker. And although he must’ve been in horrible pain, it was often hard to know. He hid it well. Stubborn, and strong.
On the night he passed away, as I went to bed, I reminded God that Thunder likes to sleep under the table. And through a fit of tears, I smiled thinking of Thunder crowding God’s feet like he often did to us. Not begging, just being close.
We miss you so much, buddy. Thank you for all the laughter and the smiles. Thank you for putting up with us as we learned about owning a dog. Thank you for the good times, and even the bad, although they don’t seem so bad now. Thank you for choosing us.
No more pain, no more fear. Run free. And eat lots of peanut butter.
I’ve been traveling a bit lately. It’ll all slow down here soon, but in the last two weeks, I’ve been in Santa Fe, Atlanta, and New York City.
And all three are home. Santa Fe is where I live now. Atlanta’s where I grew up. NYC was where we spent the last five years before moving to Santa Fe.
I often wonder where home is. It didn’t take long after our move to Santa Fe to realize it probably isn’t a long-term stop for us. To realize maybe NYC felt more like home than we thought. We moved to NYC unwillingly, and we spent most of our time there wanting to leave. And while spending a week with my family in Atlanta, I found myself tired of being away from them so much.
We’ve lived in eight apartments/houses in the last nine years. Five states. We’re ready to find someplace, somewhere, to maybe buy a house, make friends, and get real furniture we don’t have to worry about moving in a year. I want to paint walls, hang pictures, and settle in.
Most of my spam comments include shoe lifts, improving SEO, or are in some other language I can’t even read. But the other day, I got an interesting one. I didn’t approve it to post, but it’s the most useful spam comment I’ve ever gotten. It said…
“The oldest greeting cards we have today date back to the 14th century, made somewhere in Europe. The culture of giving greeting cards developed in the 19th century when printing press came into the picture. Greeting cards, these days, are of various types. These types include standard greeting cards, photo greeting cards, personalized greeting cards, reusable greeting cards, electronic greeting cards etc. The pictures and messages in greeting cards come in various styles, which range from fine arts to profane. Although in today’s world, technology has made everything so fast and easy, but the charm and warmth of sending a card to someone is not lost.”
Don’t you feel enlightened?
Of course it concludes with a link to some site that I didn’t click. But you can’t argue with the charm and warmth of sending a card through the mail.
Hey, 31. I’m not sure about you. I wasn’t sure about 30 either, but it wasn’t so bad, although it was a crazy year, what with moving cross-country and all. But 31 — now I’m actually IN my 30s. Not just 30. I remember reading newspaper articles in college and thinking anybody over 23 was a real grown-up. I still mostly feel 23-ish, maybe a little wiser and certainly a few more gray hairs.
Thirty-one, you treat me well, and I’ll do the same. Let’s do this thing.
Most of us are past the heart-doodling and dreamy-new-last-name-writing in our Trapper Keepers. But once you fall in love, or have been there for a while, there’s no reason to quit with the love notes. Here are a few thoughts on how to write a love note.
1. Choose the right card.
If you’ve only been dating for two weeks, it might be too soon to go super mushy. If you’ve been together for a long time, you can choose cards that express how much you’ve grown together, how thankful you are for the other, and it can even be cute to send cards you might’ve chosen way back when. (I mean, who doesn’t want to hear “I like you” after years of being together?)
2. Use their name or a nickname. Maybe this seems like a “duh” statement, but leaving out the personal touch of their name means this card could’ve been written to anyone.
3. Say why you love them.
“I love you because you walk the dog in the rain.” “I love you because you make the best hot chocolate.” “I think you’re cute.” This can be as simple as one sentence, or you can base your whole note around a list of reasons why you love them.
4. Say thanks. What’s something they’ve done for you that really made you feel special? Does he work two jobs to take care of you and your family? Does she always lay out the right tie before your big meeting? Does he bring you Starbucks after a long day? Nothing wrong with a little thanks.
5. Dream about the future.
Maybe you can’t WAIT to get married in a month. Maybe you hope to be just like his cute parents someday. Maybe you just went out but you can’t wait to see her again. What’s something you look forward to as you grow together?
6. Sign it.
That name thing again. Own up to everything you just said!
Obviously there are lots of different types of love notes and there’s no one right way to do it. Maybe your note is just one sentence. Maybe your note is a novel. Maybe your note is a list. Maybe your note is a tease. Do what feels right for you and say what you need to say.
And do it often.
This concludes our how-to series for National Letter Writing Month. Time to get writing!
No one likes writing sympathy cards. It’s a sad time. And it’s hard to know what to say. You want the recipient to know you’re sorry and that you’re there for them, but it’s a fine line between a sweet note overstepping your bounds.
Before you write anything, it’s important to pick the right vessel for your message. Personally, anything that’s really flowery and says “sympathy” on the front makes me cringe. You don’t need a lot of words for this card. Let’s let the inside do the talking. Use something simple, or even a blank card with a nice image on the front will work.
What to write in a sympathy card:
– I’m so sorry.
– I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your grandmother.
– I know I don’t have all the right words to say, but I want you to know I’m here if you need me.
– You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
– I’m praying for you.
– I love you.
– We’re praying for peace and comfort for your family.
– May God comfort you with his peace and strength.
– My heart goes out to you.
If you have a fond memory of the person who has passed, it’s ok to include it. If it’s a funny memory, use your best judgment on whether or not it’s appropriate to include it in your note.
If you’re in a place to offer help and feel comfortable doing it, then you should. Offer to bring dinner, watch the kids, rake the leaves while they focus on their family. Be specific, though, on what you’re willing to do. Just saying “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” can seem insincere.
What NOT to write:
– I know how you feel.
– He’s in a better place now.
– Feel better soon.
– It was just her time.
– Time heals all wounds.
– It’s part of God’s plan.
I asked a few friends for their thoughts on what they’d like to see in a sympathy card, whether they were the writer or the recipient…
“I think our gut reaction is to give hope. But I HATED IT when people said (well-intentioned) things like, “all things work together for the good of those who love God.” That’s true, but all I thought was … how about you not trivialize my emotion and my hurt? I think that hope is offensive in the very beginning, hope is important, but it comes AFTER comfort. In the beginning, if you offer hope to a hurting person, it seems to them like you aren’t really seeing their hurt. I’ve found “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” and “Can I help?” are NEVER EVER bad.”
— Kate Conner, kateelizabethconner.com
“Best advice ever from one of our son’s NICU nurses in the middle of his diagnosis: take time to grieve. Even though he was alive, we had to grieve the loss of the “healthy baby” we thought we were getting.” — Kelli Hays, eatprayreadlove.com
“In death, saying kind things about the person who is gone is very nice to read in the card. Fond memories of the person, and “I’m sorry for your loss” were very meaningful to me. Nowadays, just the fact that people took the time to send a card, is a step above and beyond in my opinion (especially for our generation).” — Amy Hudson, creativekidsnacks.com
“Simple is key. Does anyone read those paragraphs on sympathy cards? When my father-in-law died this past year, my eye went straight to the personal note.”
— Rebecca Barth, She Shares Ministries
“After my brother’s accident we were getting cards and food and sweets and gifts and hugs and even toilet paper. But the only thing that really stuck out was a letter I received from one of the brothers in my hubs’ fraternity. ‘Life is too short, too unfair, and we don’t even get to know what will happen next. Sometimes we are handed great sorrow out of nowhere, for no reason. And life seems a bit dimmer – maybe a cloud is no longer beautiful, or a favorite song is ruined. Even delicious cupcakes might seem pointless. But the world goes on, stubbornly unaffected by its latest painful maneuvers. The sun still rises at the same time, and we are dragged along with it, whether we are willing to face the day or not… It is this randomness that gives us life. We wake up in the morning not knowing what the day will bring, and while some days bring us tragedy, other days bring us great accomplishments, joy, friendship, love- all of the things that make us beautiful, that make us human.” The letter goes on to encourage me to look ahead at the things I can celebrate.'”
— Aleks Slocum, aslocumstory.com
Do you have any go-to tips for writing sympathy cards? What would you like to hear if you had to receive one?
Did you know April is National Letter Writing Month? I’m doing a short series on Tuesdays for the rest of the month on how to write a few of the notes we’re most unsure how to write.